Loser System and Berserker Me - C.40: Those On the Fence

Loser System and Berserker Me

C.40: Those On the Fence


“Hm?” Madam Marti turned around to look at Constantin XI. “What is it, Your Majesty?”

“Hit me,” Constantin XI said impassively as he looked at the blood twin-headed eagle flag flown in Thessaloniki. “I must be dreaming.”

Shu Yichao had first taken over Edirne, and now Thessaloniki. With that, they had taken back half of their old territories in the Balkans.

Constantin XI couldn’t imagine how all of this happened, so he wondered if he was dreaming.

“Could it be that Constantinope has already been taken down by the heretics,” he murmured, “and this is just an illusion I’m having before my life comes to an end?”

Madam Marti tilted her body rightward and took a step back with her right foot. Then, fully leveraging the power of momentum, her right hand went on a complete arc before striking heavily on Constantin XI’s face. The force nearly sent the latter tumbling to the ground.


“All of you heard that. It’s the emperor who told me to strike him!” Madam Marti exclaimed aloud to the surrounding officials. “I have never heard such a request before in my entire life.”

Constantin XI twisted a few rounds and saw stars spinning above him before finally regaining his balance. He looked at the blood twin-headed eagle flag in Thessaloniki once more, followed by the cheering Crusaders, and he began laughing himself silly.

“Ouch, it hurts. It isn’t an illusion.”

“All right, Your Majesty.” Madam Marti smiled as well. “We should enter the city.”

Constantin XI nodded. He got onto his horse and galloped up to the city gates while grumbling about happy problems.

“Our Caesar is a fighting maniac. He doesn’t care how many enemies there are; he only wants to know where the enemies are.

“He also doesn’t bother stationing soldiers in the cities he conquered to secure them. He just plunders them and leaves the rest to us. In the end, I, the Augustus, have to clean up after him, whether it’s selling the spoils of war on his behalf, managing the prisoners of war, or securing the cities.”

Madam Marti chuckled. “But don’t you think that’s fitting? The Caesars have always been undefeatable generals, whereas the Augusti specialize in governance.”

“HAHAHAHA!” Constantin XI was amused by Madam Marti’s metaphor.

While the Romains were walking down Thessaloniki’s main street, they suddenly heard curses and the sounds of clashing weapons.

“What’s going on?”

Curious, Constantin XI galloped over. He soon heard murmurs of ‘May the true God eternally bless us’ and ‘God, please look after us’.

In the middle of the street was a simple barricade made out of miscellaneous items, such as furniture, sandbags, and so on. On the other side of the barricade, there were people praying while furiously glaring at Constantin XI with spears in hand.

However, unlike what Constantin XI had expected, these people weren’t Ottomains but…

“They are Romains who have converted? What are they up to?” Madam Marti was rendered speechless by the sight. “The Ottomain imperial family has been wiped out. Most Ottomains have either escaped or surrendered. Who are they fighting for?”

The ones before Constantin XI were Romains who had switched religions.

Their ancestors had been loyal citizens of the Romain Empire, but after the Ottomains took the land they were living on, in order to raise their standing in the Ottomain Empire, they decided to change their religion.

And these traitors were currently roaring at Constantin XI, warning him not to get close.

“Could there be a deeper reason why they are doing this?”

Constantin XI decided to send an envoy over to enquire about the matter.

The Khitan Caesar might not have killed these traitors, but he wouldn’t be surprised if his bandit-like subordinates had robbed them clean. Maybe these Romains were protesting to him through this to have their grievances redressed.

Moments later, the envoy returned with a swollen face and tattered clothes. He reported the conditions listed by the other party, and Constantin XI was so angry that he nearly erupted on the spot.

“They are demanding that I scram from this city with my army? On top of that, they are demanding that I respect their faith, and I should let Thessaloniki become a self-governing city?

“And the most ludicrous thing of all is that I should pay for the rebuilding of the city and supply them with necessities?”

Constantin XI was livid with rage. “What do those traitors take me as? A pushover? Even the Ottomains weren’t this arrogant when I was forced to bow to them!”

“Hmph!” Madam Marti harrumphed with a sneer. “Your Majesty, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. I have seen much more while I was carrying out guerilla assaults on the Ottomains with my people by the Ink Sea’s coast. They bark at their own people all day long like rabid dogs, but before the Ottomains, they turn into sick chickens that dare not even caw loudly.”

“Your Majesty.” Madam Marti reached for the sword on her waist. “Leave them to me. I don’t think I have fought a single battle since the Caesar started his expedition. I shall send those traitors to the afterlife.”

“Things might not be that simple.” Constantin XI shook his head. “Don’t you find it weird? Why is no one stopping these people despite the bullshit they are spewing?”

“You’re talking about our Caesar?” Madam Marti asked. “He probably thinks that they are Romains and aren’t considered enemies.”

“No,” Constantin XI shook his head, “I’m referring to the local nobles.”

Madam Marti briefly thought about it, and her face darkened. “It’s just as you say, Your Majesty. Those bunch of maggots!”

She finally figured out what was going on.

Could the Ottomains rule over this land with just their own people? The answer was clearly no.

Those barbarians needed to work with the local nobles in order to properly govern the people, especially when it came to keeping the Romains in line.

Established noble houses with long lineages were also known for being ‘fence-sitters’; they would simply side with the stronger one. That was how they were able to survive for centuries, outliving even dynasties.

When the Ottomains had the upper hand, they would have a portion of their clansmen convert their religion over so as to get some leeway from the Ottomains and benefit from their rule while bullying the citizens beneath them.

If the Romains came back to power, they would switch their allegiance back… but how to go about doing so was an artform in itself.

In other words, the nobles in the city were planning to submit, but they had their demands and they wanted to pressure Constantin XI into giving in to them.

Constantin XI knew that he ought to gather the local nobles right away and negotiate with them. He would recognize their elevated status and promise them the same privileges they had been enjoying thus far.

The noble houses would then tearfully recall that they were proud children of the Lord too, compelling them to swear fealty back to the Eastern Romain Empire. To prove their loyalty, they would step up to manage the converts, either driving them off or persuading them to turn back…

The Romain emperor would secure his claim on the city, whereas the nobles would have their privileges assured. It would be a win-win situation.

Otherwise, the nobles would comply on the surface, only to secretly cause trouble whenever they could get away with it.

But should I really do that?

Constantin XI’s hands trembled.

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